Everyone assumes it takes a particular person to do an epic bicycle tour. As one British man stereotyped me over lunch, “either just graduated, laid off, boyfriend dumped, or for a cause”. Don’t get me wrong, for many cyclists this is accurate. But most of my time talking with strangers is spent dispelling the “type” of person who does and can do bike touring. This week I met a group of 300 riders doing a 500 mile ride through OR, ID, and MT—all of different ages and shapes, and sizes. Yesterday I met a group of 12 going across the country on tandems—8 kids and 4 adults.
So back in Libby, Montana I camped with the complete yin and yang of all riders and this has since become my testament to diversity of touring cyclists.
Name: Scot Heisdorffer, PhD
Occupation(s): French and German professor at St Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa
Tour: 400 miles of Northern Washington, Idaho, and Montana
Average miles per day: 70
Bike: A small collapsable bike to fit in luggage when he tours in Europe in the summers.
Budget: His retirement
Riding attire: Loose padded shorts, Chacos with socks, fluorescent jersey, purple helmet
Camping equipment: All the lightweight REI camping equipment
Recreation: Revolved entirely around bicycling. Drove a car once in the last 5 years. Does marathons to keep in shape for cycling in the summers.
Occupation(s): Trucker, Construction, Fry cook
Tour: Eureka, Montana to the Oregon coast
Average miles per day: 28
Bike: Mountain bike
Budget: 60 bucks until he gets to next day job at a truck stop
Riding attire: Construction boots, jeans, cotton shirt w/o sleeves, “to hell with sunscreen and helmets, damn’it!”
Camping Equipment: $17 tent from Big 5 and Mexican blankets.
Recreation: Taking the dog, his truck and a chainsaw out back for firewood.